Tweets for week ending 2009-06-01

  • Poke around with Twitter and there’s always something not working. Part of its charm and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not deliberate. #
  • Thanks for the follow, @apolicyfordave, but simple research would have shown I’m not really your target market. #
  • I seem to have contracted baby-flu from my son. I understand it is milder than man-flu, but worse than swine flu. #
  • Twetiquette question. Is it bad form to have two personal Twitter accounts? #
  • Surprised @Tweetie didn’t tie up with @12seconds, @Posterous or even @twitvid for their video Tweeting. #
  • Really looking forward to seeing if the BNP’s social media monitoring is as good as they claim & produce lots of hate-filled blog comments. #
  • Today’s Election Communication brings a message from Bob Crow – he wants to be an MEP, while not being an MEP, as well as stopping the Tube. #
  • I’ve seen plenty about Tweetie’s video tweeting, but has anyone seen any video tweets yet? #
  • So, apparently there’s some football match on tonight, great, I’m off out canvassing… there ought to be a law against it, you know. #
  • Bath time (for the boy, not me) and then annoying football fans time (that’ll be me. Canvassing. Sorry, really sorry). #
  • Not interested in the footie…the Duke Quiz starts @ 8 & you can win £50 tab. (via @dukebattersea) Or you can stay in & hope I canvass you! #
  • Aaand the first door is one of the good guys (obviously my definition of good may differ from yours). #
  • Wow, this road is MUCH better than it should be. Sign of a swing? Or people lying to get rid of us before the footy? #
  • Little secret, quit canvassing for the football. Unpatriotic secret, was rooting for Barça. Terrible secret, they totally deserved it. #
  • Because of @appleblossombea I’m trying to be more active on Twitter. If I start doing “I’m sitting on a chair” Tweets tell me. Or shoot me. #
  • .@GrantBlowers So far, not a peep from the BNP – they either aren’t monitoring social media or are being picky about where they respond. #
  • Pondering a post entitled ‘Confessions of a Conservative canvasser’ – probably not enough farce though. We did all that in the run-up to 97. #
  • BNP candidate withdraws, had confused BNP with non-racist, tolerant, party. http://bit.ly/pRxLT (via @No2VotingFraud) #
  • Playing around doing some page layout. I really enjoy design and curse the fact I’m so atrociously bad at it. #
  • Heading to a CompeteFor event to encourage local businesses to bid for Olympic contracts. #
  • My local bus stop is right outside the Labour offices: just seen a very subdued (and small) team head out for their evening of campaigning. #
  • If you like football, or even American soccer, you should #followfriday @twofootedtackle – could only be improved with more GTFC news. #
  • I’m doubly ashamed today 1. This Morning is on in the background. 2. Programmes like this exist, who cares about Susan Boyle’s PR breakdown? #
  • Words cannot express how sad I am that the Mariners following me now are the Seattle Mariners – not the real Mariners. #
  • Just got a Lab leaflet asking me to vote Labour in the euros… but only telling me about my 163 majority Labour MP! #
  • Taking photos of public buildings while trying to avoid police attention and the hassle of a section 44. Probably makes me a terrorist. #
  • Scarily just realised I have started seeing s44 as more a tiresome hassle than an affront to civil liberties. Have reversed that attitude. #
  • Does anyone know what the 50s ‘typing music’ you always see accompanying stock footage of typing pools is called? #
  • Beautiful weekend & bleak polls for Labour. That’s how it is on the #labourdoorstep: people want to give them a kicking. #
  • Is it really *the* @DavidVanDay on Twitter? #
  • If it weren’t for Grimsby Town I’d h e to be a Chelsea fan! Good result. #
  • For a week now I’ve really fancied a pint of shandy. I’m not sure whether that says something about the weather or something about me. #
  • Just wow: RT @krishgm: So far Labour will offer nobody at cabinet rank for interview – days before the election. (via @mattwardman) #
  • Weather forecast for Thursday looks good for campaigning. Bit cooler, no rain. Couldn’t be better for those of us running around all day. #
  • Hold it. Are we saying the mediocre singer and conventionally unattractive didn’t win? I missed it trying to work out Ant or Dec’s hair. #
  • I’m thinking that anyone watching FIVEUSA right now is watching a film they’ll never forget, even if they bleach their eyeballs. #
  • Has anyone seen a hashtag for the euro elections? I’d have thought #euro09 but hardly anyone uses it – not that I can find anything else. #

Weekly report, week-ending 29 May

This is my first weekly report-back on the blog.  It is currently a trial, and you can read some of my thoughts about it in a blog-post I wrote before commencing the reports.  It is not intended to be, nor can it be, an exhaustive report of what I have been doing during the week as a councillor, above all, the nature of a councillor’s work means a lot of the work done for ward residents remains confidential. It is very much a selected highlights of the week.

Neighbourhood Watch Strategy
Much of the start of the week was taken up with final preparations for the Neighbourhood Watch strategy – which combined with an unsettled baby – managed to dominate much of the bank-holiday weekend.  I’m rather proud of Neighbourhood Watch in Wandsworth, which has been a key partner in making Wandsworth inner London’s safest borough.  The new strategy will be launched next week, and enhances the role of Neighbourhood Watch as well as, for the first time, setting out what Watches, the council, police and other partners can expect from each other to help make Wandsworth even safer.

Meeting with Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce
Along with the Leader of the Council I regularly meet with the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce to chat about issues in the borough. Perhaps unsurprisingly the biggest topic of discussion was the recession. I have tended towards the bearish when discussing the recession – thinking it will be long and hard. However, a lot of the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard suggests the recession is focussed on the retail sector and while property and construction are showing signs of recovery the retail sector is going to be struggling for some time to come. What was pleasing, however, is that Wandsworth’s businesses still seem fairly optimistic about the future.

CompeteFor London 2012 event
On Thursday I attended and said a few words at a CompeteFor event in Wandsworth. Almost as evidence of business confidence in Wandsworth around 150 businesses attended the event in Wandsworth Town Hall to hear how they could bid for work associated with the 2012 Olympics. When you often assume businesses are struggling to think what they will be doing for the next three months, it was great to see businesses keen to bid for work for the next three years and beyond. If you are a business interested in bidding for Olympic related work then you should visit the official Olympic site at london2012.com/business and CompeteFor.com which is handling the online bidding process.

Campaigning
One of the drawbacks of starting these reports now is that the council tends slow during summer, while we don’t have a ‘recess’ as such there a few formal meetings over summer. In addition, the council enters a purdah during election campaigns which means many meetings and events have to be cancelled. And, of course, that gap gets filled by campaigning by those of us unfortunate enough to be political animals. When I’ve not been at the town hall this week I’ve been on the doorstep (maybe even your’s). It has been an interesting campaign, perhaps for the wrong reasons with the expenses scandal. I hope to find time to post some reflections on it next week.

Using my blog to report back…

One of the suggestions when I asked for ideas for the blog last week (and I’m still looking for ideas or suggestions, feel free to add a comment or email cllr@jamescousins.com) was a regular ‘report’.  Of course, reports can take many formats, but I thought I’d give it a go.

I’m going to trial this for a few weeks to see how it works.  I will state from the outset that I’m a little sceptical about the value and have some caveats.

The main reason I’m sceptical is because it just cannot be exhaustive.  Using the example of meetings, while I can list the meetings I’ve attending, some are confidential or will have confidential parts.  Indeed, even where those meetings aren’t explicitly confidential I feel that, unless they are public, it would benefit no-one if they felt anything they said would end up on a blog.

Moving on to work in the ward, again, the confidentiality issue rears its head.  Casework often involves highly personal matters that I simply cannot disclose.  Even when dealing with broader issues residents expect a degree of discretion because of concerns about relationships with neighbours, for example.  Earlier this year I privately started mapping my work in the ward but decided it was not suitable for publication because there were so many privacy issues involved.

More fundamentally, there’s the question of what merits inclusion.  To give an example I started the week spending a lot of time working on the launch of our Neighbourhood Watch strategy for next week.  I’ve also spent time trying to organise a meeting for residents of Eccles Road.  While the launch and meeting would probably be reported when they happen, is the preparation of one more worthy of inclusion than the other?  My instinct is to include Neighbourhood Watch because it affects the whole borough, but an Eccles Road resident might well think I’ve made the wrong call!

Above all, I wonder how useful it will be to a Shaftesbury or Wandsworth resident.  I already use the blog to mention particular meetings and events and where casework has wider implications or raised by a few people independently I tend to write something about it here like I recently did in dealing with foxes.  It might be the ‘report’ is little more than a summary of the past week on the blog, with details of a few meetings here and there.

But I am also a public servant and you could argue any report, however imperfect, has to be better than no report.  So on that basis I’m going to provide them for a few weeks to see how they develop, how well they are received and then assess whether or not they are worthwhile.

Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road, planning application

One of the applicant's drawings of the proposed hotel on Falcon Road

One of the applicant's drawings of the proposed hotel on Falcon Road

Residents living near Falcon Road might be interested in the current consultation the council has received for the Woburn House site on Falcon Road.  The site was the old job centre and is currently a solicitors.  The application is for a 16 storey, 132 bedroom, hotel.

I know many who objected to the Clapham Junction application will have similar reservations about this scheme, but also know many who feel that the area desperately needs some hotel provision.

If you wish to see more details, you find them on the council website’s planning section.  The application reference is 2009/1291.  If you wish to make a representation, in support or opposing the application, you can do so by emailing planningapplications@wandsworth.gov.uk or on the council’s website.

It is worth noting that your comment will be publicly available – so you might want to send your comment as an attachment if you do not want your email address publicised.

As with the Clapham Junction application I do not wish this to be seen as pre-determining my views in any way, this post is merely to provide information.

Are the BNP active in Battersea?

A few people have had the dreadful BNP leaflet land on their doormat recently and asked me if this means the BNP is active in Battersea.  Luckily, I think the answer is no.

In each case the leaflet has been their badly researched election communication featuring a Polish Spitfire, American models and an elderly Italian couple.  Given the BNP’s references to the Second World War on the leaflet I think the inclusion of the Spitfire from the 303 Polish Fighter Squadron (who claimed the highest number of kills during the Battle of Britain, and were certainly one of the most effective squadrons in the war) particularly amusing.  The BNP’s argument is, essentially, that the brave Polish pilots defended our country from invasion so we could refuse the brave Polish pilots’ descendants any right to live here.

So how did the leaflet get through your door?  Well, it was delivered by Royal Mail.

Every party in a European Election (and every candidate in a General Election) has to right to have one ‘election communication’ delivered to each elector in the relevant constituency.  The major parties, Conservative and Labour, have been individually addressing their leaflets.  Minor parties, like the BNP, take the simpler option of having one leaflet delivered per household.  The Royal Mail delivered leaflets can be identified as they will carry the words ‘Election Communication’ along with the constituency, type and date of election – in this case the London constituency, European Parliamentary election and 4 June respectively.

So, as far as I know, the BNP do not have activists working in Wandsworth.  But that does not mean we should rest easy.  The leaked BNP membership lists revealed a small number of members in Wandsworth and the BNP have boasted about successful meetings within the borough, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for activity (I’d be interested to know if anyone has heard from them).  It’s then for the mainstream political parties to provide an alternative to their anger-fuelled policies.

Kathmandu, Lavender Hill, licensing application

Although the public notice has been in the window for some time, I have been formally notified of a licensing application for the premises at 133 Lavender Hill (currently called Kathmandu – though new applications often signify a change in management and name – opposite the Chuch of the Ascension).

The application is quite restricted, seeking to sell alcohol for two periods a day 12.00 – 14.00 and 17.00 – 23.00 seven days a week and to provide recorded music during 12.00 – 15.00 and 17.00 – 23.00 seven days a week.

If you have any representation to make the last date is 13 June 2009, it’s worth remembering that legally representations can only be considered by the licensing committee if they relate to the four licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • Public safety
  • The protection of children from harm

The council’s licensing pages provide more information on licensing in Wandsworth.

Personally I think the application is straightforward and reasons and do not think it will be any problem.  I’m publishing this purely for information, as I do with any licensing applications received in the ward.

Crime briefing, 14 – 21 May

The map below details crimes reported in Wandsworth between 14 and 21 May.

There still seems to be a high level of burglary, as I noted last week.

If you have any information on any of these crimes you can get in touch with the local police on 020 7350 1122 or via Crimestoppers (anonymously, if you wish) on 0800 555 111.

The map is hosted by Google, whose mapping service seems to go through patches of downtime (although of late it has seemed fairly stable). If the map does not load, or will not load the flags, try refreshing the page or following the link directly under the map; I assure you the map is there! As usual there are some health warnings following the map.

You can click on the individual markers for more information.

  1. Yellow flags represent burglaries and red flags represent street crime reported in the period.
  2. The briefing only contains details of burglaries and robberies. Other crimes are not included.
  3. You can see more detail by following the link to the Google website.
  4. The flags are not placed precisely (it would be irresponsible to advertise victims of burglary) but instead are spaced roughly equally on the roads they took place. The idea is to give a visual representation of the spread and range of crime in Wandsworth, rather than pinpointing crime locations.
  5. While I try to ensure the data is accurate it is reliant on the information I receive, and I’m only human, so it may be mistakes have crept in. Please let me know if you think you’ve spotted one.

Tweets for week ending 2009-05-24

  • I see Twitter totally differently without replies. Not sure if I need to follow lots more or cull lots to get the value back. #
  • I’ve just heard the Clapham Junction planning application has been withdrawn by the developer. #
  • “My biggest achievement is to quote other people on twitter.” Anonymous (via @robertz) #
  • “My second biggest achievement on Twitter is to RT any mention of my own name” (inspired by @robertz) in reply to robertz #
  • Don’t fear the BNP, just point and laugh: http://bit.ly/ac8r (via @JamesCleverly) #
  • OK, am I the only one who is unmoved by the Speaker’s resignation? Does it really matter? #
  • Getting ready for a heady cocktail of productive work shaken with time-wasting on Twitter. #
  • I am strangely exciting by @AllTheSausages – but if only there were a cheese version. #
  • It’s always been a bit of an experiment for me, but how do you want your/a councillor to engage? http://bit.ly/4mNue #
  • Having to install MS Word on my pristine iMac. I feel violated. #
  • “An unexpected error occurred while trying to load the MS Framework library.” Not that unexpected, I knew something wouldn’t be quite right. #
  • And 35 minutes later I’m beginning the uninstallation process of MS Office. Only two error messages in that time… #
  • These are the sort of issues I should be tackling: Gazza v Maradona http://twurl.nl/gbdqyp (via @twofootedtackle) #
  • Or should I be tackling those issues? Any ideas for my blogging (not just from Wandsworthians) http://is.gd/C03y #
  • Twitter seems dead today. Has it gone the way of facebook? Is everyone on a new Twitter I don’t know about? #
  • On my way to the town hall for a meeting I’ve realised it’s a long time since I Tweeted anything as banal as ‘on my way to the Town Hall’. #
  • Ah, the Joy of Canvassing. Not to be confused with Dr Comfort’s famous tome, this one might last much longer, but isn’t as enjoyable. #
  • I believe Twitter etiquette following a canvassing session is to say everyone was for our party & no-one said they would vote against. #
  • This #followfriday goes to @Timforchange partly for the politics, mainly out of admiration; how he does it as a new Dad baffles me. #
  • Maybe it’s voyeurism, but I’ve always liked accounts like this that provide some insight into a career: http://is.gd/CkLY #
  • James Cleverly’s view on the BNP invite to the garden party – http://is.gd/CmoJ #
  • So far it seems deities do not move in high-fat emulsified offal tubes. #
  • Given that they are the wrong side of the Humber I’m worried about how chuffed I am for Hull. #
  • I can only say that tonight has left me disappointed in cheese, sausages and God on Twitter. #
  • I’d forgotten quite how peaceful my back garden can be when it’s not Battersea’s turn to be on the Heathrow flight path. #
  • Just seen the 24 season finale… Sorry for the spoiler but wow! Wondering if I can persuade @jesscousins to watch it again on Sky tomorrow. #

And what do you want me to do as a councillor?

After I asked for suggestions on where I might take the blog yesterday one of the comments expressed disappointment that it wasn’t asking what issues I might take up!

So now I’m asking, are there any issues, concerns or problems with which I can help?

I make the offer from time to time and usually get a few responses as a result, but it’s a standing invitation.  You can get in touch at any time.  Full contact details are on my contact page, but, to save you going there you can email me at cllr@jamescousins.com, find me on twitter as @jamescousins or, if you want, leave a comment below.

But please remember, you don’t need to wait for an invitation!